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Thursday, 14 April 2016

Rainham RSPB

A good week at Rainham started last Saturday with news of a Razorbill found by Jonathan Nasir on Aveley Pools, the bird had presumably flown from the Thames in bad weather. A local mega, many needed it for London including myself so a quick dash was made to see the bird late afternoon presuming that it would not stay.

A few of us got to see the bird, thanks to Howard for staying open, but sadly it died a day or two later, not sure as to the cause but possibly it could have been injured or died through starvation.

As much as you like to see local rarities, you don’t like to see them in these circumstances.


With a day off today (Thursday) I made a dawn visit to Rainham and decided to walk the river wall, it was high tide, other than the Razorbill visit, I had not visited the site since March 17th.

With many migrants now in I was hoping to bolster the year list which currently stood at 95.

First tick just after the centre in bramble was Common Whitethroat (96), scoping the Reserve then produced 16 Curlew at roost and, on their own 2 Whimbrel (97).

A good look through the islands on the scrape though failed to produce the hoped for Little Ringed Plover, if I remember correctly it took me a while to get one last year.

Moving on I then heard the Grasshopper Warbler (98) and not far from it, Reed Warbler (99) doing a bit of sub song in the early hours.

The Gropper I understand has been around for a couple of days.

All the time I was keeping an eye on the river and I then got on to a Ringed Plover (100) flyover calling, another bird that I had failed to connect with in the winter.

Staying with the river then produced 2 Sandwich Terns (101); these can be difficult, I didn’t get them last year at Rainham.

Record shot of the Sandwich Terns

A Short Eared Owl was seen briefly hunting before I arrived at the Serin mound, no Wheatears so far but on the grapevine a Whinchat was seen on the Reserve.

After a while I turned and headed back along the river wall after failing to find any Chats or better still, the recent Merlin, another bird missed so far.

Approaching the Salting’s then showed not one but two Short Eared Owls with one on the ground and another quartering, getting late for these so could prove interesting if there still being seen in May.

It is also possible that there may be 3 birds after I picked up another bird with prey coming from another direction very shortly after.

Another flyover wader then went over high calling and Greenshank (102) was seen heading onto the Reserve.

The other wader which I keep missing is Spotted Redshank, I understand it was seen later in the day on the Kent side, getting its colours as well.

Moving on, still no Wheatear, I got onto 4 Common Terns on the river which bought the year list nicely up to 103, thinking that was it for the day I made my way to the Centre for a cuppa.

En route and shortly before I met Howard a Ring Necked Parakeet went over calling so finally finished on 104.

A very good enjoyable morning walk, good numbers of Common Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler are in but rather unusually I didn’t pick up any Hirundines.

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